Sunday, August 31, 2008

2 Week Wow

At this time, in 2 weeks, I will be landing in Ethiopia.

Wow, wow, wow!

Friday, August 29, 2008

FAQ: Offer

Okay, I know a lot of you have questions. How do I know? Well, the emails and the comments for one thing:) But also because I had a lot of questions- and still do- especially as you progress through the adoption timeline.

So, I am opening it up to your questions. They can be questions about paperwork, the process, packing, or even about me!

Email me (yellow_grace at yahoo dot com) or leave a comment. I will compile the questions into a post, and everyone will get to benefit from the knowledge-sharing:)

I don't promise to know everything, but I am happy to give opinions and share what I do know- happy asking!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Update!

Misrak is so close! She leans in my ear and makes little ticking sounds! I like to think she is saying she loves me! Misrak could not be any sweeter to me or the other children; you just want to be her friend! She loves to snuggle and hates when I leave; I hate it, too! I can not express with words her presence. I can feel her staring at me across the room; she is very powerful! Misrak likes to have fun as much as any kid but usually has to be engaged. Her confidence is growing everyday and the love of a family will surely expose a different child!”

No pictures right now because I am at work:) BUT someone has been very busy gaining almost a whole pound in just a few weeks!

No, it wasn't me- I gained 10 pounds, not one:)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Advertisement: Space Bags

Contents: 6 bath towels, 3 dish towels, 4 wash cloths, 2 baby blankets, 2 duffle bags.

Gives new meaning to the term "packin'"...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Progress & Preprations

I am making progress in the preparations for impending toddlerhood in my household. The gate is installed at the stairs (arg! I forgot how inconvenient those things are!) I figured out how to rearrange my kitchen to accommodate bottles and sippy cups. I picked up a pack-n-play off Craigslist to put in my room for those transition weeks/months before she is ready for the bunk beds. Clothes, diapers, and wipes are ready. And let me tell you, the girl has shoes!

Guest room "before"

More packing stuff.

I officially started to pack on Thursday. The humanitarian aid, caregiver gifts, and small tokens for the in-country staff are ready. The mess that was in the guest room is starting to take shape, and I am using lots and lots of Ziplocks! A run to W*lmart yesterday to stock up on infant, children, and adult medications has been fruitful (but expensive:)

Anna's clothes- the easiest part of packing! And the most fun:)

Making some packing progress.

I am developing a list of things I still need to buy, including a booster seat for at the table, a diaper bag, and a second car seat (for in Doctor John's car.) Craigslist has provided the hook up thus far, so I keep cruising the kiddy listings.

This weekend will be the last big push in preparation as school starts for Abigail and I on Monday. She will be starting first grade, and she already has homework! For my part, I have to fill out an application to take her out of school and go to Ethiopia. An application. That could be approved or denied (not that I think it would be denied.) But seriously, I had never even heard of such a thing! (John explained that it is Pennsylvania truancy law to file this "application", and the law was originally designed to keep kids in school and out of the fields. I guess that makes sense under those circumstances, but still, I am a bit put off that I have to file an application with the state to take my daughter to pick up her new sister from Ethiopia, just because this trip is occurring during the school year.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Could that be a glimmer of excitement?

My dear friend Jess just returned home with her precious wonder-boy Abe (the kid slept the whole time on the plane and sleeps through the night. He is a rocksome baby!)

I feel so blessed that she took a care package to Anna, and took some pictures along the way. The picture above is Anna holding the little picture book I had sent to her, and wearing an outfit that I sent. I think she looks a bit excited to see her Momma and her big sissy!

Jess also wrote this encouraging bit of news:

Misrak is so beautiful, Grace. I can't wait for her to be in your arms. She is Ryan's favorite- he wraps his arms around her and she holds tight to him. He loves her so much. He is amazed at all of the gains she's making, and he said that she is really beginning to come out of her shell and smile. One day this week, Ryan went to visit her, and when she saw him coming, she put her arms out to him. He's so good to her.

When I went to visit her, the nannies had her laughing and playing, and they were tickling her- it was the cutest thing. We read the book and showed her your pictures, and she smiled. It was just beautiful. The clothes fit well- I think they were 12 months that you sent? Her hair is filling in, and it looks great.

You are just going to love this little girl so much Grace. She is honestly the type of baby that you just want to hug forever!!!!!

I would just like to point out it now appears that both of my daughters like men better than women. I foresee trouble around age 13. Something to look forward to, I guess:)

Well, off to do a dry-run on the packing. I am trying to get as much done as possible before school starts next week (can you believe Abigail is starting first grade? And I only have 3 more classes left! Woot!) I will update with some packing thoughts soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

She Smiles!

Who even knew that she did that? Huge thanks to Christina for these pictures, and this little update!
Grace! Your daughter is AWESOME! My parents and I spent a good amount of time with her today so I'll be sending you a bunch of pictures when we get back. Anna was initially shy when we approached her. But we were diligent and were able to make her smile and laugh quite a bit!! I must tell you that she and my mother fell in love a little bit. Anna would not let my mother go and she cried when we had to leave. Truth be told, I think my mother shed a tear about leaving her behind! Had I not assured her that Anna had a wonderful mother coming for her very soon, I think my mom my have grabbed Anna and made a run for it with her!! Anyway, Anna has the most beautiful skin ever and a really sweet disposition. It was an absolute pleasure to hang out with her. You are one lucky mom!
Yes, I am. So lucky. So blessed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Her favorite face.

Ashley writes...

I took this photo of your precious daughter. She was soooo cute and funny. She walked right up to me and sat on my lap. We hung out for a while, when I put her down she cried. She is really cute and so sweet. I fell in love with her, for some reason she really stood out to me! I can't wait for you to be with her!

I swear, this pouty face is her favorite.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The face that launched 1000 ships... or something similar.

Shasta was so kind as to take some pictures for me when she was picking up Dagim.

Here is my favorite.

Oh yeah. She's a Kirk.

(Poor baby needs her Momma to give her huggies and kissies and cuddles!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Instant Adoption Weight Loss Plan

So, the girls at work are always talking about their present diet/workout plans. I usually don't participate, mostly because I am not usually on a diet. But, the stress of the last few months has resulted in a little something extra in the tummy area. So the last diet/exercise chat session, I tuned in.

Incidentally, I was also caring for a lady with giardia that day. Turns out that beavers are a carrier of giardia, and people in our area who use use natural spring water or well water are susceptible to giardia because we have a lot of beavers (who knew?) This lady was elderly and had lost some weight due to her illness.

That is when I conceived my Instant Adoption Weight Loss Plan. It is best explained in the little jingle I made up:

Goin' to Ethiopia
Gonna catch me some Giardia
Gonna lose me 30 poundsia
And put on those skinny jeans!

Basically, I think I had a return of Wait List Induced Delirium, except, you know, travel date wait induced delirium.

*Note* I have no plans of actually attempting to contract giardia, nor do I recommend that (from a personal or professional standpoint) as a weight loss plan. Unless you really love to poop.

** Note 2** Does anyone know if cats can get/carry giardia? Because Lily is a very curious cat...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

Chris writes:

Anyway, each time we arrived, your girl was sleeping but the caregivers so wanted you to get pictures that they woke her up –hence, she’s not smiling and dancing around. The first time, when Shasta gave her the pink dress, etc. as soon as I’d turned around, the caregivers had re-dressed your girl in it. I don’t think she’d have gotten this much attention if they didn’t like her in a special way. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.

I love her little grumpy, why are you waking me up face!
Reminds me of Abigail, actually:)
Big thanks and lots of hugs to Chris and Shasta who carried a little outfit to Anna, and snapped some pics, too! Can't wait to share more with you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


It's all resolved. Whew. Thank goodness.

I couldn't sleep last night, and then, when I did, I had these horrible dreams and I woke up literally shaking and scared to go back to sleep. I am so glad this is all resolved.

In other (somewhat related) news, I found out that I will get to be one of the great ones... I will follow in the steps of Lori, Angie, Tara, Shasta, Jess, and many others...

staying at the Ayat House!

All Worked Up

I am all worked up.... again. Just when I thought things were supposed to be smooth sailing! Here I was prepared for 30 days, a long plane ride, and a baby in my arms. This is supposed to be the easy part, the part without a thousand surprises, the part that just keeps getting better and better.

Or, you know, not so much.

If you don't know what I am talking about, I am probably not supposed to tell you. Don't worry, my adoption is not in jeopardy or anything, and Sparrow will be in my arms on September 15. But right now I just got word of some changes that are taking place in Ethiopia, and I am all worked up about it.

I know in the end, everything will work out. God did not bring me this far to disappoint me. But man, this is an intense feeling of having the wind knocked out of my sails + ticked off. Can you pray that it all is worked out sooner rather than later? Like, tomorrow, or heck (since it is 12:300AM) maybe even today!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sparrow (Mini)

Do you know someone who is a total cheerleader? You know, in a good way. Someone who encourages you and cheers you on? I do. Paisley has been a constant encourager during this journey, and now that the waiting is nearly complete (I leave a month from today!) she has gone and blessed me again!

I am honored that she was inspired to create this little baby Sparrow shirt by my own little Sparrow! And I can't wait to wear my Sparrow shirt while Anna wears hers! Thank you soooo much, Paisley! I love it. (She also sent a little gift for Abigail- the Barbie cats that Abigail mentioned wanting here. Abigail, of course, loves them:)

Like what you see? You can check out her gear on her KukuluPeekaboo blog and her etsy shop (kukulupeekaboo) starting Friday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Thank you so much, Meredith and Ryan!


Monday, August 11, 2008


I am not normally a hugger.

Sure, I hug Abigail. But much outside of Abigail, not so much of a hugger. Even John doesn't get that many hugs. It's just not my thing (in fact, if I don't see a hug coming, it takes all I have to prevent myself from going stiff as a board!)

But I've been getting a lot of hugs lately. Because that is what people do when there is a new baby in the family. They hug.

And you know what? I kind of like it.

Now I am off to Sam's Club to stock up on household stuff, baby wipes, and little airplane treats. I do not anticipate that this will involve hugs.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Help Meredith

If you are a Gladney family at any stage of the process, go help Meredith with her project! It will just take a few minutes:)

Named: Hosanna

Taken May 12 or 13, just a few days after Anna's arrival at the care center.

Hossanna (Acoustic) - Hillsong

Hosanna. Do you know what it means? It is a cry that meant "He Saves!" A cry of adoration and praise. It is a word that has come to mean a shout of fervent and worshipful praise. Which is exactly what I do whenever I see this face.

But there is more to the story than that.

More than a year ago, a word kept coming to me during prayer. Hosanna. I didn't really know what it meant, but I knew that it was a term of praise. So I prayed, and I praised, and I trusted God that whatever it was He was trying to tell me would become clear.

About the same time, I began to seriously research international adoption. I looked at several different countries, trying to find one that I would be eligible to adopt from as a young single parent, but I didn't consider Ethiopia. In fact, I kind of already settled on a country. It was okay, but I didn't feel the way I thought I would feel.

Then one day, someone mentioned Ethiopian adoptions. So I began to look and research and within the course of an evening, I fell in love. I felt connected to this country, these people, in a way that I didn't feel with the other countries I considered. I began to do more research and formulate a tentative agency list.

All this while, I kept praying and praising. Thank you, Lord! Hosanna! Praise you, God, for your goodness! I never even considered that this praise was linked to my adoption journey.


I was almost 100% sure that it would be Ethiopia. The only thing holding me back was my own fear of "falling in love too fast" and not slowing down to consider every angle.

That is when I saw that Hosanna is a town in Ethiopia.

Most recent photo, take August 6 or 7, wearing an outfit that I sent!

All systems were go from that moment forward. I knew it would be Ethiopia for me. And once I received Sparrow's referral, I knew she was the child God intended for our family: counting back, I had started hearing the word and praying the word "Hosanna" shortly after she was born. All those months when I had no clue what that was all about, I was actually praying for her, unbeknown to me!

How great God is! I love that He revealed this name to me... this Ethiopian name, well before I ever knew it would be Ethiopia, but at just the right time to begin praying over Sparrow's life.

Even more, I love that this is a cry of praise- a cry of "He Saves!" This adoption journey is not about me "saving" Anna, but rather, it is a celebration of the wonderful grace we are given through Jesus- it is a testimony to the glorious love that fills us as we abide in the Father!

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him... We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:16-19

We can abide in this love because He has saved us- what a gift, the gift of salvation!

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Eph. 2:4-5

This love that He gives us... this love that empowers and enables us to love others... this is the same love with which he adopted us to himself. This is the perfect love to be the foundation of this adoption. God calls us his children. And because of His love, because of His salvation, this journey has come full circle; because of my great love for her, I call Anna my child.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

Hosanna! Praise God! He Saves! He saved me- He continues to save me! And He is offering this gift of salvation to each of us- even to my Anna. And through this gift of salvation, I give love. And through giving this love, God has led me down the path He had prepared for me.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Eph. 2:8-10


Friday, August 8, 2008

Named: Misrak

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east, and gather you from the west."
Isaiah 43:5

Misrak. It is the name her birthmother gave her. It means "East."
"Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea."
Isaiah 24:15

Why East? Her homeland? Her place of hope? Her goal and destination on life's journey?

I do not know.

But I know that name meant something to her beautiful birthmom. And therefore, it means something to me, and it will mean a lot to Sparrow. It is part of her heritage- part of what makes her who she is. It is a gift that was given to her by her birthmom, and just as I want to honor my sister with the name Faith, I want to also honor Anna's birthmom by keeping the name Misrak. She is a wonderful, loving, courageous woman.

I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.
Ezekiel 43:2

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 6, 2008

Named: Faith

(logging in to see Sparrow for the first time.)

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Hebrews 11:1

Faith is also my sister.

Easter 2007

This journey to Sparrow has been one that has truly challenged, stretched, and grown my faith. It has also strengthened my relationship with my sister.

Like the Ethiopian culture, my family and I believe that names and their meanings are important. My sister's name is not just "Faith" it is Constance Faith- constant faith. Faith came to that name after my mother's long struggle with pregnancy loss (including a late-term stillbirth). It was only my mom's constant faith that sustained her through her pregnancy and brought her the fulfillment of God's promise- her first child.

Like my mom, my journey to Sparrow has been one of faith. In choosing this name, I want to proclaim that I did not make this family. I just put my faith in the Father of all of us, and watched as He blessed my faith.

In choosing this name, I also want to honor my sister. She is a great woman of faith, and I admire, respect, and appreciate her. (Hey, I love her, too!) She is a great aunt, and my girls are very lucky to have her in their lives.

(Faith meets Sparrow for the first time- Love at first click!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reason #20- This Face

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him."

1 Samuel 1:27

Introducing Hosanna "Anna" Misrak Faith Kirk

My Sparrow is finally coming home!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

And now for something completely different....

This one's for Meredith. Her journey to the wait list took forever and someone almost ended up getting punched. She even wrote a poem about it!

As a reward for all of her hard work and patience, Abigail and I are pleased to present....

The Dirty Butt Dance!!!!!

Note- this is not really dirty or a dance. But there is butt involved.

No Go

My case was not heard today as the opinion was missing. Apparently the birth-mom did relinquish in the local court at some prior point, so that is one less thing to have to do tomorrow.

My case has been rescheduled for tomorrow. Please pray that everything is in line for the court date and Sparrow will be mine tomorrow.

In other news, the interview went well.

Waiting by the Phone

You know, except for the time I will be in my interview:)

Watching Waiting - Todd Carey

Monday, August 4, 2008

You Never Let Go

Tonight I am praying, by name, for each family that is waiting in this court process. This song has been on my mind all day, and especially now as I am praying.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, your perfect love is casting out fear...

And I will fear no evil, for my God is with me. And if my God is with me, whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear?
Oh no! You never let go! Through the calm and through the storm!
Oh no! You never let go! In every high and every low!
Oh no! You never let go, Lord, you never let go of me!

You Never Let Go - Matt Redman

Praising Him because he never lets go of any of us. He is with each of us- adoptive parents, birth parents, children, judges, staff members, case workers... we are all held in His hand. And His hand is a very safe place.

Update on Sparrow! (Finally!)

Yea! It felt like I was waiting forever to get an update... and here I get one on the eve of my court date:) Joanna writes...

Sparrow is doing great but will not say a word; yet! She is not afraid to cry and scream but is overall very passive and quiet! I would throw the ball to her and she would wait for the other kids to pick it up and throw it back! Sparrow seems very intimidated around other children but enjoyed us playing around her, none the less! She is strong and agile and showed me some cute dancing moves! Sparrow is extremely ticklish and can not resist giggling! Sparrow could quiet an angry beast with her stares up at me or her big, sweet, open mouth smiles! She has filled up her developmental chart with the exception of: use immature jargoning, say mama or dada or any of the like.

Weight- 17.86 pounds

Unfortunately, Sparrow is a bit sick right now and is on antibiotics. She has some blood work that came back inconclusive, so repeat blood was sent (poor baby!) and we are waiting on those results. She also has ringworm- oh no! But in her picture she looks healthy and is finally getting some hair (yea!) She is so sweet and just looks like she needs me to scoop her up and love on her. As a friend said "she looks like she could be held forever." I plan on it!

The way I see it is this: Sparrow isn't talking yet but Abigail will get her talking in no time (still hoping that her first word will be Momma!) She and Abigail will be dancing up a storm before I know it, and my back won't be breaking while I tote her all over Addis. SCORE!

But I don't know about that passive and quite business... not a typical quality at our house:)


Because Ethiopia is ahead of us on the clock, my case will be heard in the courts tonight as I (attempt to) sleep. By the time I wake up in the morning, it will have been decided, and I will simply be waiting to hear from Jessica, my sweet caseworker.

So, tonight... tonight...

Say a prayer tonight.

Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Tonight - Carol Lawrence / Larry Kert

P.S. Don't forget to pray for my interview, if you think of it!


Corporate prayer tonight for all cases that are pending in court at 10pm EST, 9pm CST (that would make it 5am Tuesday in Ethiopia) If any of you are night owls or working overnight, I would love to think that you are praying for the court process/judges/families throughout the day in Ethiopia!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

It Has Begun

The prepping, that is. Actually, I packed most of the humanitarian aid, got the caregiver gifts together, and practiced using my Ultimate Baby Wrap and Hip Hammock. (The HH is much easier to use, but now that I've practiced with the UBW, I think it will be much more comfortable to wear, especially for longer trips.)

Of course, Abigail had to try the carriers, too:)

And then, there is the laundry... Oh! The Laundry!

We have been blessed by several hand-me-downs and also several gifts. I picked up some onesies, and now Sparrow is all set in terms of a wardrobe for this fall/winter. So, tonight we started washing everything so that it could be folded, sorted, and put away.

Three loads of laundry down, my mom says 3-5 more to go (including washing blankets, the UBW, bibs, socks, etc.) Thankfully, I actually like doing laundry, and so does my mom, so we are getting this done quickly! And it's a really good time killer to keep me occupied as I count down to court. I mean, not that I am actually counting, or anything...
Okay, I am ready to hear all about the Blog Union!

The word for that is... poor planning

So, Tuesday. The BIG DAY. Court.

Oh, yeah. You know, and an interview for the new position I am applying for at work. At 1pm. Just the time that Jessica might start calling to tell me the big news.


Actually, it was intentional. Not desirable, but intentional. They want to interview and hire as soon as possible, and I want this job. I mean, I want it. Not for the job, so much, as for the hours (repeat after me: no weekends, no holidays, no nights or weekends.) Same benefits, less work, more time for my girls. I want it.

So I made the call to do the interview on Tuesday. Knowing full well that I would be on edge about court. But this is what life is about- having to make hard decisions to do what is best for your family.

So, just add that to your prayer to-do list:)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Reason #19- When I am old...

My grandma. She likes things just so. And with her age, wisdom, and children to fawn over her, she often gets things just so.

(Gonzer (my gramma) and my Aunt Sylvia)

My mom and my aunt take care of my grandma. I mean, she does her thing, but they make sure she does things. They take care of her. And when the time comes that she needs more care than a few meals cooked or motivation to go out and do something, they will do that, too. Because that is how they were raised.

And that is how I was raised. And that is how Abigail is being raised. We take care of each other. That is what families do. It's so much easier to do it with someone, and there is no one better to do that with than your sibling. Because they are the only person in the world who will love your parent as much as you do.

And when I am old, Abigail and Sparrow will take care of me. And they will be glad they have each other to share the burden.